Writer: Mark Millar
Penciller: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Paul Neary and Bryan Hitch
Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 5.
Synopsis: Millar just keeps cranking up the action in this storyline. The issue starts off with a flashback in the Middle East with the usual America bashing that Millar just can’t help to do. We see a sickly Arab boy being recruited by a Muslim extremist.
We then go to a flashback in France (where any good anti-American group should be located) where we see the Chinese, Russian, North Korean, Syrian and Middle Eastern version of the Ultimates who have the codename: The Liberators.
We then go back to the present time and watch as the Liberators with Hank Pym by their side looking over the success of their attack. Ultron robots are positioned throughout New York to help keep the peace. The injured are taken care of including Nick Fury who lost an arm.
We then go to Tony Stark’s penthouse where Jarvis’s dead body is lying there and the Black Widow reveals to Tony that she was the Liberator’s spy in the Ultimates. She raves on about what a great job she did as a spy. Tony then surprises Natasha by taking control of her body via nanites in her brain and blood. He then smashes her in the face with a bottle of champagne. Classic Ultimate Tony!
We then go to Hawkeye where he is being held captive. Hawkeye uses his own fingernails to kill the guards around him! He then threatens the doctor to let him free. Once the good doctor frees Hawkeye, Clint kills him. A bunch of soldiers is sent to the room where Hawkeye is. Hawkeye says “You guys are dead already.”
Gunfire starts and when the smoke clears, Hawkeye is the last man standing. He looks at the security camera where the control room is monitoring the situation and Clint says one word: “Run.”
We end the issue back on the Triskellion where Captain America is being held captive. The Liberators catch the Wasp trying to free Captain America. They think they stopped her in time, but unfortunately, she freed him 5 minutes ago. The issue ends with a freed pissed off Cap telling the Liberators to “Get the hell away from my girlfriend.”
The Good: Ok, let me assure you that I have my issues with Millar. However, before I blast him I want to praise him. This issue was kick-ass!! No one does action and adventure like Millar. His stories are so well-paced. He manages to keep the plot flowing without it seeming too rushed. He keeps the action rolling along without the comic seeming too chaotic or overloaded. His stories are not brainless either. Even though he is great at action, he also is adept at dialogue, excellent character development, and a solid story.
This issue had plenty of good action and was quite the page-turner. I absolutely loved the Tony Stark/Black Widow scene. Millar has done a great job with the Ultimate version of Tony Stark. I wish the regular Marvel Universe Tony was a bit more like this version. Even though on the surface Tony seems like a carefree unsuspecting drunk rich playboy, Millar shows us there is much more under that façade. Millar Stark is an extremely calculating control freak who prepares for anything. He is quite Machiavellian in his attitude. Seeing him turn the tables on a gloating super spy was great!
The other scene that I absolutely loved was the Hawkeye scene. Hey Bendis, this is why people think Clint Barton is such a badass. Try developing a character rather than needlessly killing him. Anyway, Millar wrote a hell of a scene with Hawkeye using his own fingernails to kill people!! And then having him take out an entire squad of soldiers all with cold efficiency with a simmering rage just beneath the surface. You just know that everyone in that compound is going to die and Hawkeye is going to enjoy every minute of it. Millar has really done an excellent job making Hawkeye not only an ass-kicker but also a relevant character.
I love this current storyline and Millar has me eagerly awaiting the next issue. Hitch’s art is good as usual. His style fits the tone of the Ultimates perfectly. His art has a nice realistic edge to it but is still dynamic enough to create some nice splash pages.
The Bad: Ok, now to my criticism. I have duly praised Millar, so now I am going to duly blast him. Millar, get over your own political beliefs. Stop trying to shove them down our throats while we read your comic. It is not enjoyable. It doesn’t make your comics better. Actually, it does just the opposite. It really detracts and cheapens what is overall quite a nicely written story. It is fine to have some political satire and references if done subtly and properly. However, Millar’s political commentary is so obvious, crude and poorly done that it is painfully obvious what he is trying to get across.
Millar’s political commentary is like a sledgehammer that he repeatedly hits the reader on the head to the point that a retarded monkey would clearly pick up the horridly not subtle commentary. That is not good writing. Excellent political commentary is usually done so sublimely that you don’t overtly notice it when reading the story.
Millar cannot see beyond his own political beliefs and it clearly hurts his writing. This is what keeps Millar from becoming a first-tier writer. I have enjoyed Millar’s Ultimates and I think his positives on the book outweigh the negatives. However, because of his overbearing political commentary, I am not going to miss him when he leaves the book. I think Jeph Loeb will do just fine keeping this ship running.